Marc Randolph co-founded Netflix with Reed Hastings. Randolph also served as the company’s inaugural CEO.
Netflix requires no introduction, as it’s one of the leading streaming services in the world, influencing millions all around the world with its obvious LGBTQ agenda.
But its co-founder, Randolph, has a background unknown to many:
- He’s related to Freud, the man responsible for generalizing sexuality within Western public discourse.
- He’s also related to Bernays, who’s considered the father of propaganda. In fact Propaganda was the name of his 1928-book which influenced many, including Goebbels.
Randolph is related to both Freud and his nephew Bernays because, like in many Ashkenazi-Jewish families, cousin marriages were encouraged within the community, even in these upper-class and seemingly “assimilated” circles. (Einstein also married his cousin, Elsa.)
This is what Randolph wrote in the second chapter of his 2019-book, That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea:
It was the sixties. Freudian analysis wasn’t exactly uncommon.But we didn’t have a miniature Freud museum in the library because anybody in the house was spending time on a therapist’s couch. It was because he was family. He was Uncle Siggy.
It’s a little more complicated than that. Freud was in fact my father’s great-uncle, making him my great-grand-uncle.
Still, no matter how convoluted the chain of connection, my parents were proud of the family association with Freud. He was a success, a giant of twentieth-century thought, as important an intellectual figure as had existed in their lifetime. It was like being related to Einstein: proof that the family had excelled on both sides of the Atlantic.
My family also had a connection to another important twentieth-century figure: Edward Bernays. Bernays was my grandmother’s brother, and Uncle Siggy’s nephew. If you’ve ever taken any course in advertising, if you’ve taken a course in mass media in the American twentieth century—heck, if you’ve even watched Mad Men or seen a cigarette ad—then you’re familiar with his work. Bernays is, in many ways, the father of modern public relations, the person who really figured out how to apply new discoveries in psychology and psychoanalysis to marketing. He’s the reason we eat bacon and eggs for breakfast. He’s also the reason we celebrate Thomas Edison (and not Joseph Swan) as the inventor of the lightbulb. He’s the guy who, after helping popularize bananas for United Fruit, turned around and waged a propaganda campaign alongside the CIA to stage a coup in Guatemala.
So, not always the most laudable stuff. But even though a lot of what Uncle Edward did wasn’t all that admirable, it did stick in my head that I could do what my father did, every night in our basement—use the tools he’d been given to create something.
Obviously we don’t believe in genetic determinism, in the sense that someone could be related to both Freud and Bernays without necessarily becoming an evil individual.
Regardless, we’ll be examining the imprints of both figures in Randolph’s golem, Netflix.
Freud: Sex as the Ultimate Explanation
Freud too requires no introduction – quite simply put, he’s the single most influential modern psychologist.
Even someone with only a casual interest in psychology has seen his face and knows that his main contribution is to try and make the whole of human existence revolve around questions of sexuality.
This view of sex being the dominant factor in life was controversial in his own time. In fact, it was controversial even among his own disciples, many who thus apostatized from the nascent Freudian church. Some of the dissidents include Jung, who would say “spirituality” is more important; and Otto Rank, for whom “the trauma of birth” (also the name of his most famous book) is itself the origin of human neurosis.
One of Freud’s best-known theories is that of the Oedipus complex, which posits that a boy always remains in a sort of conflictual relationship with his father (who represents authority and discipline), while simultaneously perpetuating an incestuous desire for his mother.
This most important idea of Freud was rebutted quite early on. This is because during the ’20s, the Polish anthropologist Malinowski – while studying the Trobriand people of New Guinea – found out that in matrilineal societies it was not the father but the maternal uncle who represented “authority and discipline.” Thus the Oedipus complex wasn’t as “universal” as Freud had thought.
Sometime earlier, Finnish anthropologist Westermarck had also minimized Freud’s emphasis on incest by showing how individuals who live with each other as siblings do not develop a sexual attraction towards each other.
These critiques, along with others, are the reason Freud is no longer considered to be as authoritative as he was before. However his main idea still persists: Sex as ultimate explanatory device.
In the United States, his sexual agenda would be popularized thanks to another German-speaking Jewish psychoanalyst, Wilhelm Reich. Reich is considered the founder of “Freudo-Marxism,” a school which marries insights from both Freud and Marx.
More specifically, to the Marxist ideal of proletarian liberation through the revolutionary confiscation of the means of production, Reich and other Freudo-Marxists added the sexual angle: The “capitalist” and “bourgeois” state doesn’t only alienate the proletarian masses through pure economics, but also through “authoritarian” sexual repression.
Reich’s ideas are encapsulated in his 1936-book, The Sexual Revolution.
Within this book he unleashes diatribes against “patriarchal” religions, monogamous marriage, female chastity and even infantile sexuality – in the sense that, for Reich, children and adolescents should (or must) explore their sexuality more freely.
In the 1949 preface to the fourth edition of his book, he in fact boasts about how he’s the reason why encouraging free-sex among children and adolescents has become mainstream, since prior to him basically everyone was against it:
In 1928, when I founded the Socialist Society for Sexual Consultation and Sexual Research in Vienna, the genital rights of children and adolescents were denied. It was unthinkable for parents to tolerate sexual play, let alone to regard such manifestations as part of a natural, healthy development. The mere thought that adolescents would satisfy their need for love in the natural embrace was horrifying. Anyone who even mentioned these rights was slandered. Resistance to the first attempts to guarantee the love life of children and adolescents united groups of people who otherwise were violently opposed to each other: members of all religious denominations, socialists, Communists, psychologists, physicians, psychoanalysts, etc.
As this article isn’t really about Reich, we won’t delve further. However, the reader will certainly see how we still live in a Reichan world, as bashing “patriarchy” and promoting child sexuality are key features of the postmodern West.
In reality Reich was just a development of Freud, even if quite an extreme one. Ironically there’s even a sort of Oedipus complex between them: Reich figuratively “killed” his “father” Freud, as he agreed with Freud’s sexual agenda but believed that he remained too “conservative” in its applications.
Reich wasn’t Freud’s only legacy though.
Ali Shariati is one of the foremost Iranian intellectuals of the last century. He summarizes the Freudian legacy, and more interestingly for regular MuslimSkeptic readers, how it fits within the liberal-capitalist worldview and its materialistic approach to existence.
We thus read in Expectations from the Muslim Woman:
Up to the appearance of Freud (who is one of the agents of the bourgeoisie), it was through the liberal bourgeoisie spirit that scientific sexualism was manifested. It must be taken into consideration that the bourgeoisie is always an inferior class. Although feudalism was an anti-human system, it, nevertheless, relied on an aristocratic elite and their moral values even though these moral values led to a decline. Bourgeoisie mentality negates all of the high, ascending human values and believes in nothing except money.
Therefore, a scholar or scientist who lives, thinks and studies during the bourgeois age, measures collective cultural and spiritual values (the sacrifices of mankind, the martyrdoms, struggles, literature, art etc.), with only the scale of naked economy, with production and consumption and with nothing else. One who studies psychology or anthropology, looking at all the dimensions and manifestations of the mystic spirit of human beings that which religion believes to be the spirit of God and the manifestation of metaphysical virtues sees only unsatisfied sexual appetites. Belief, culture, mental illnesses all are related to the struggle to release an imprisoned and condemned sexual complex. The bourgeois social scientist looks at all of the delicate human sensations and feelings (even a mother caressing her child, the worship of the beloved by the lover and all other issues) in relationship to sex. (…)
This messenger was named Freud. His religion was sex. His temple was Freudianism, and the first one who was sacrificed on the threshold of this temple was woman and her human values.
In the same work, Shariati shows why most Western art is Freudian in nature – especially cinema:
It is not accidental that Freud’s view of sexuality came to prominence after the second world war and became the fundamental basis and foundation of art. Most motion pictures are based on only two elements: violence and sexuality. Both of these are legacies of the war. Motion pictures are one of the most important examples of the relationship of art to Western capitalism because film production is the only art which cannot exist and develop without the aid of capital. Thus it differs from the arts of painting, literature, poetry and music. A poor painter, writer, poet or musician can create the greatest work of art, but a film producer must have capital of millions of dollars to create a saleable film. Thus, this art is unconsciously supporting capitalism.
It isn’t that hard to make the connection with Netflix, which also weaponizes sex in promoting its agenda – to transform the whole world into Qawm Lut.
Bernays: The Father of Propaganda
Freud’s nephew, Bernays, has been described by his descendant Randolph as the “father of public relations.” Yet this is a sort of cold euphemism for someone who is actually the father of propaganda (the title of the book we referred to at the beginning).
Bernays used his uncle Freud’s theories for his propaganda, as Richard Gunderman writes for The Conversation:
Having seen how effective propaganda could be during war, Bernays wondered whether it might prove equally useful during peacetime.
Yet propaganda had acquired a somewhat pejorative connotation (which would be further magnified during World War II), so Bernays promoted the term “public relations.”
Drawing on the insights of his Uncle Sigmund – a relationship Bernays was always quick to mention – he developed an approach he dubbed “the engineering of consent.” He provided leaders the means to “control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it.” To do so, it was necessary to appeal not to the rational part of the mind, but the unconscious.
His best-known ad campaign was convincing women to smoke cigarettes, despite ironically – and quite hypocritically – discouraging it for his own family (Steve Jobs was accused of the same for not allowing his own children to use his “top technology”):
Bernays’ publicity campaigns were the stuff of legend. To overcome “sales resistance” to cigarette smoking among women, Bernays staged a demonstration at the 1929 Easter parade, having fashionable young women flaunt their “torches of freedom.”
He promoted Lucky Strikes by convincing women that the forest green hue of the cigarette pack was among the most fashionable of colors. The success of this effort was manifested in innumerable window displays and fashion shows.
In the 1930s, he promoted cigarettes as both soothing to the throat and slimming to the waistline. But at home, Bernays was attempting to persuade his wife to kick the habit. When would find a pack of her Parliaments in their home, he would snap every one of them in half and throw them in the toilet. While promoting cigarettes as soothing and slimming, Bernays, it seems, was aware of some of the early studies linking smoking to cancer.
The author then goes on about how he influenced Goebbels, the propaganda minister of national-socialist Germany.
Another article we’d recommend to our readers if they want to know more about Bernays is Olivie Goldhill’s “Politicians used Freudian ideas to first convince Americans they needed capitalism,” published in Quartz.
As the title suggests, this article makes the connection between Bernays and liberal-capitalism more obvious. For instance, we read:
These ideas are so ubiquitous today that they’re entirely unremarkable; companies use sex to sell sexless products, and speak to how buyers perceive themselves. When Bernays first started, the Freudian ideas behind his techniques were more explicit. For example, women in the US mostly didn’t smoke until Bernays was hired to expand American Tobacco’s market. He spoke to a psychoanalyst who claimed that cigarettes tapped into women’s unconscious penis envy, and so Bernays decided to link Lucky Strike cigarettes with power and women’s liberty by branding them as “torches of freedom.” (…)
Bernays later persuaded President Eisenhower that promoting fear of communism, even if irrational, would drive a greater commitment to American spending. As the Guardian notes, Eisenhower went on to link consumption with American political ideals in his campaign, “You Auto Buy,” which portrayed spending on cars, houses, and groceries as a national duty. (…)
Bernays didn’t simply sell products, but capitalism itself. He directed the publicity for the 1939 New York World Fair, with the theme “Democracity,” explicitly linking democracy and capitalism together in a utopian vision of the future.
Bernays foresaw the enthusiasm that now greets the release of every incrementally modified Apple product, says Donner: “We shifted from a culture in which people said, ‘Behave and conform,’ to a culture in which people said, ‘Indulge yourself, enjoy yourself.’ That spurs capitalism.”
In this case too, the readers will quite easily see the connection between Bernays and Netflix: Like Bernays, in order to sell products, Netflix banks on the irrational – especially sexual – part of the human mind and behavior to push its Qawm Lut agenda.
Someone in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and any other “conservative” country for example, would have been repulsed by the obvious LGBTQ ideas if they were exposed to him in their raw form, so to speak.
Yet, when these same ideas are incarnated in Netflix original TV shows, the entire equation changes: They take the shape of “human characters” with “human emotions” in a script that is intelligently conceptualized to make the viewer identify or relate with them.
“Look, my favorite character is such a heroic gentle soul, and he’s gay… there’s no way I could possibly be against him!”
We can thus see the influences of both Freud and Bernays in the making of their relative Marc Randolph. Perhaps it’s all unconscious, as they would have put it, but it’s still there in the glaringly evident Netflix Qawm Lut propaganda.